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Local teen killed in Wednesday a.m. wreck

By Staff
Kim Wes, Franklin County Times
Mary Catherine Barron, a 2007 graduate of Russellville High School and former drum major of the school's Marching Hundred, was killed in a one-vehicle accident early Wednesday.
Like most teenagers, Barron, 18, loved her car, a 2001 white Honda Accord she bought in late July with the savings she had earned from working at McDonald's for two years.
"She wouldn't miss work, and if she said she would do something, she did it. Her life was pretty much work, band, church and school because she didn't have much time for anything else. She was really committed, and genuine with her faith," said Neal Rogers, who was Barron's youth director at Cavalry Baptist Church. "She was really excited about college, and she was trying to work as much as she could to help pay for her car and insurance because she knew she wouldn't be able to work as much once school started. She had wanted a new car, and she had just gotten one. She had been driving her grandmother's van, and she had been saving up for a while."
Barron worked the closing shift Tuesday night, and was headed north on Franklin 77 when she apparently lost control of her car as she crested a hill approximately two miles east of Russellville. Barron veered off the right side of the road and flipped, according to county officials. The Tharptown Fire Department, Franklin County Sheriff's Department, Russellville Police Department and the Quad-Cities State Troopers Post all responded to the scene of the accident, which was reported at 1:55 a.m.
"She was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:35 a.m." Franklin County Coroner Elzie Malone said. "The car had ran off the highway, and it was in a pasture on the right side of the road."
Despite her work and class schedule, Barron was highly active in extracurricular activities, including the Miss RHS pageant, chorus jazz band, show choir, Christian Students United, FBLA, National Honor Society and the youth group at Cavalry Baptist.
"It was apparent that she was a good Christian – she was very active in her youth group and went on their mission trip this summer. She worked at McDonald's almost every day, even during school, and she still managed to keep all A's. She was in the top 10 in her class and still had time to be a drum major, and we have a ton of practices," said Lindsay Cash, Russellville's band major this year and assistant drum major in 2006. "When she was a drum major, she was strict. But she was a good director, and she loved being in the band. She was one of those people who would do anything for you. We really grew a lot by being drum majors together last year, and I want to try and be as disciplined as she was."
Barron is a native of San Diego, Calif., but she grew up with her grandparents, Albin and Judy Ory.
"She's lived with grandparents since she was really young, and they were like her parents," Cash said.
Barron spent some time this summer with her father, Micheal Barron, who still lives in California. She also has two sisters, Kayla and Tiffany, who live in Russellville, and Tanya, who lives in California. Mary Ory, Barron's mother, is deceased.
Barron was known as a person who went out of her way to be friendly.
"She was very smart, and she was friendly to everyone," said Alyssa Turbyfill, who graduated with Barron last year.
"I transferred from Tharptown in the eighth grade, and we were both in Mrs. Brown's science class together, and she helped me out a lot. She was openly friendly to me and she didn't even know me, and I respected her a lot for that."
Debbie Thomas, Barron's supervisor at McDonald's, described her as a hard worker.
"Mary was a great employee, and we're going to really miss her. During school she worked part-time, and during the summer, she worked more hours. She was an exceptional kid, always happy and always smiling," Thomas said.
Barron still managed to find time to have fun, according to her best friend, Katie Adams, who met her in seventh grade at Russellville Middle School.
"We'd go up to Florence and go shopping. She was like my best friend, so we could talk about anything," said Adams, who was also in the Russellville band.
"I think she was interested in learning more about music and possibly becoming a band director. She loved the band and she really enjoyed the program, so she took time to help out."
Russellville band director Gary McNutt, who was the assistant band director last year, said Barron had visited the school during band camp last week.
"She was up here last week for two or three days for band camp – I even put her to work while she was here, and she was happy as a lark to do it. You could tell she missed this," McNutt said. "She's a sweet girl, and I can't say enough good things about her, because she had an incredible heart and wonderful work ethic. We're just in shock. It's hard to define and explain an early death like this, especially with someone like Mary. I know her family is hurting, and their family is in our prayers."
Barron received several musical honors and a scholarship from Northwest-Shoals Community College, and she was scheduled to begin classes Aug. 20.
"She was headed to Northwest, and she had gotten several other scholarship offers," McNutt said. "She participated in the Quad-County Honor Band and received superior ratings. We won best in class and received superior ratings under her direction. Since I've been here we've had two other students pass away … this is the hardest thing for a band teacher or coach. To lose a student you have been associated with is really hard because you've known these kids since the beginning, and you get close to them."
The funeral service will be held today at 10 a.m. at Cavalry Baptist Church in Russellville, with Joe Lenox, Neal Rogers, George Crummie and Wade Wallace officiating and music provided by the Russellville band.
"She was just faithful in everything did and had a sweet spirit. She was here last Sunday morning and Sunday night. We know without a doubt she's with the Lord now. She tried hard in life, and she had a bright future ahead of her," said Wallace, senior pastor at Cavalry Baptist. "It's hard for her family, her grandparents. Even her grandfather said she never gave them any trouble and always did what they asked her to do. She will be greatly missed here at the church."